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D. How Small Strokes May Affect Memory Loss

Narrator: This is Science Today. For years there's been question about how small strokes may affect memory loss and whether people with such memory loss also have Alzheimer's Disease. Now for the first time, a study led by researcher Bruce Reed of the University of California, Davis, has come up with clear evidence that the impact on the brain caused by minor strokes is very different from the damage caused by Alzheimer's Disease.

Reed: We looked at the brain's metabolic function - so we used PET scans, which give you basically a map of the brain's metabolic activity. Memory function in Alzheimer's disease was related to the degree of activity in temporal lobe, basically. But in the stroke patients, how well they remembered things was related to functioning in the frontal lobes of the brain.

Narrator: Reed says these findings can help doctors distinguish between the two forms of memory loss.

Reed: Which is important to people, even if it doesn't have an immediate implication in terms of what drugs you would use. It's still important to the patient, it's still important for the families to know what's wrong.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.